Called by some as one of the greatest wildlife sanctuaries in the world, South Luangwa National Park is one of Zambia’s main draws. This 9,050 sq km park is centered around the Luangwa River and is home to one of Africa’s largest concentrations of wildlife. Thanks to its remote location, South Luangwa manages to combine immense density of wildlife with limited visitor numbers, and it’s also one of the few national parks that allow night safari game drive.
South Luangwa is primarily dry woodland, watered by the meandering Luangwa River and its many oxbow lakes. The dominant tree is the mopane, but stately giant baobabs also dot the landscape here and there. In the dry season, most plants and trees seem to shrivel up and wildlife congregates around watering holes. This presents a great opportunity for prime African safari game viewing.
South Luangwa is home to a dazzling array of wildlife. Hippo and crocodile are an immediate spot crossing the bridge over the Luangwa River when entering the park and elephants are hard to miss along the river’s banks. Thornicraft’s giraffe and Crawshay’s zebra (without the brownish “shadow-stripe” of common (Burchell’s) zebra) are both endemic to the park and easily spotted. Herds of Cape buffalo roam the park, along with several prides of lions. The density of leopards is among the highest in the world, although tracking them can be tricky and takes time and patience. An abundance of antelope species including impala and the puku — rarely seen outside Zambia — are almost as commonly seen on a safari game drive or walking safari as the more prevalent waterbuck and bushbuck.
South Luangwa is also a sought after destination for birding safaris with over 400 of Zambia’s 732 species recorded. South Luangwa National Park can be considered on of Zambia’s greatest prides and is not to be missed on a Zambia Safari adventure.
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